Disabled people in Northumberland could benefit from a new guide that aims to encourage organisations to make their toilets more accessible and available for people to use.
The guide has been produced by researchers at Newcastle University, who worked with Carers Northumberland.
It is aimed at businesses and anyone who provides toilets for public use and sets out a range of low cost and easy to implement changes they can make to ensure toilets are accessible for people with additional needs and their carers.
The ‘Nowhere to go’ guide was launched at a special event which also launched a short film made with people from Northumberland talking about their experiences and why better toilet provision across the county would help.
To develop the sixteen-page guide researchers talked to disabled people and their carers, as well as volunteers from a range of organisations across Northumberland including Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Association and BID Services Morpeth, who support people who are deaf, hard of hearing, are visually impaired or have a dual sensory loss.
The research highlighted the difficulties people can face on a day to day basis when trying to access suitable toilet facilities. Some of the participants said that they had often been forced to return home or were prevented from leaving the house in the first instance by the lack of appropriate facilities.
Others talked about the negative attitudes they had encountered from members of the public who had challenged why they had used an accessible toilet when their disability wasn’t obvious.
Many commented on unclean or poorly equipped facilities, while there was also a widely held view that there should be more - and better signposted – accessible toilets.
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The guide can be downloaded from here or for a hard copy call the Carers Northumberland info line on 01670 320025